Pennsylvania Roads and Bridges—Government’s Shame

While Governor Rendell has been working hard to keep increasing spending on education, the state’s roads and bridges and transit systems have been deteriorating to the point of being a threat to the state’s ability to grow and attract new businesses and residents. The latest report form the American Society of Civil Engineers paints a very sobering picture of just how bad the state’s transportation infrastructure has become.

The record of ineptness in dealing with the severity of the state’s roads and bridge problem is nothing short of remarkable. State budgets have grown much faster than inflation over the course of Mr. Rendell’s two terms, yet the state’s performance in addressing the roads and bridge issues remain shameful. Money has been shifted from highways fund s to support mass transit, the government dithered for years trying to get the Feds to approve tolling on I-80, the Governor supported unions in transit disputes and pushed for ever greater spending on education and economic development programs. And any discussion of lifting the prevailing wage laws that substantially boost road and bridge cost has been off the table.

What can be more important for the state’s economy than maintaining a good road system? And what has been the Governor’ priorities? Education and economic development spending. The payoff for these spending categories is very dubious. Failing to maintain roads will undoubtedly have a negative impact.